If you’ve been through a difficult breakup, you may have been advised to think about what wasn’t working in the relationship so you could move on without regrets. But on her single “The Good Stuff,” LA-based pop artist Amanda Lindsey Cook, known by her stage name Falcon, advocates the opposite: remembering and cherishing all the gifts the relationship gave you.
Her voice is warm and comforting as she sings about the process of getting over a breakup and eventually feeling good about both the relationship and its ending, concluding, “The pictures hold the memories/I’ll keep them close, and I’ll set you free.”
Today, she’s releasing a video of herself performing an acoustic version of the song live. In contrast to the original recording, which is full of harmonies and electronic percussion, this version is stripped down and heartfelt, with Cook sitting alone at the piano and singing. She performed the song on her own piano to provide an intimate glimpse into her life and a feeling of “my home to yours,” she says.
The song is based on Cook “searching for and finding the gold shimmery thread that very runs through all these different life experiences that we can have with people,” she says. “I wanted to create a soundtrack to the feeling of bright sadness, like nostalgia. We wanted a song that felt bright but was able to be honest about both the beauty and the brokenness of a relationship.”
The new video was a way to give people the experience of live music in an era when live performances aren’t always feasible. “I think the immediacy of live performance is still such a beautiful, precious thing,” she says. “I wanted to be able to communicate it in a way that felt immediate and felt connected, and I think that’s what live performance does — it creates a space for music to happen in a way that feels like we’re all in the room for it.”
The original version of “The Good Stuff” opens Falcon’s most recent album Nova. The title references the astronomical phenomena in which the gravitational pull between two stars causes a sudden increase in energy that we perceive on Earth as a burst of light; it can last anywhere from a few days to centuries, reflecting the album’s theme of appreciating relationships regardless of their length, as well as being honest about why they might not last. The vocoder-filled songs range from the dreamy, upbeat “Young Love” and the dramatic, string-enhanced “Grateful” to the slow, sad “Closure” and the wistful, nostalgic “The Way You Do.”
Cook collaborated with her friend and producer Jason Ingram, bringing him ideas and working together to turn them into full-fleshed songs. “I wanted to have songs that felt like poems set to music, and I wanted to have songs that I could move to and dance to and move through different emotions with,” she says. “Musically, we went after a contemplative pop sound.”
Cook is an avid reader and says books often influence her music more than musical artists themselves; her favorite authors lately are Anne Lamott and Mary Karr. “A lot of the music I end up writing is an ode to whoever I’m reading at the time or a ‘thank you’ note to them,” she says. “I’ll sit down at the piano and let it digest and let myself interpret what they say and be affected by that.” She’s currently at work on some creative writing projects herself, along with more piano compositions.
Growing up in Canada, Cook was first discovered by a producer while playing piano at a church in her hometown. She began releasing music at age 19 and now has three albums under her belt. Nova is the first she’s released as Falcon, a moniker based on a maiden name in her family. This change of identity “felt free, and it felt like a clean canvas, and it maybe felt a little bit like reclaiming a piece of family history in my own way,” she says.
She’s been playing piano since she was five, though, and has always viewed music as therapeutic. “Music became my way of expressing things that I didn’t know how to express,” she says. “Music became the energy and the outlet to be able to find what I’d repressed and what I was feeling, so music has been a bit of a guide to me. I’ve never considered not making music. I’ve made music and played music whether anyone is listening. I play a lot for my own sanity and my own expression and healing as much as I do for anyone else.”